Message from the Chair

Dawn-Elissa Fischer It is my pleasure to serve our students, faculty, staff and community partners in this historic moment as we reflect on the events that occurred over the past fifty years. As part of a world-wide movement, those who ideated and engaged the longest student strike in history created many positive and sustained outcomes, including the establishment of the first Department of Black Studies. As the past two Department Chairs, McDougal and Tsuruta, synthesized:

The roots of Africana Studies extend as far back as the knowledge systems of classical African civilizations.  Those systems’ commitment to knowledge for life’s sake has been a key component of the living history and continuous development of Africana Studies.  At San Francisco State College, the first department of Black Studies emerged in 1968 through the efforts of Black student leadership, the Black community, and their allies.  Today Africana Studies here at San Francisco State University, continues that living tradition and mandate from the struggle in 1968 to equip students with the intellectual tools to become scholars and activists; using their education to pursue their goals and interests and to address the critical needs, concerns, or challenges of the Black community and the society with which they interact. Africana Studies is a pan-African, multidimensional discipline, with unique paradigms, theories, and concepts used to explore, explain, describe, and advance people of African descent in the U.S. context and throughout the African diaspora.  Because our discipline is multidimensional, our students go on to careers in technology, science, education, visual and performing arts, literature, law, politics, science, medicine, business, entertainment, sports, religion, social work and other social sciences.

In “What Can I Do With a Black Studies Major?" <link> published by the National Council for Black Studies, Robert Fikes provides 150 answers. The Department of Africana Studies serves our students by helping them to develop their intellectual tools with a culturally relevant educational experience in a family environment, and provide them with leadership, mentorship, and guidance necessary for them to achieve excellence throughout their journey.  

Dr. Dawn-Elissa Fischer

Please peruse this site, share your experiences and learn more.

Office Hours for Spring 2018

by appointment
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday
Phone: (415) 338-2702


  • Chair advising must be by appointment. All declared majors and minors must meet with the Department Chair (during advising event or individually) once per semester.
  • Advising events are scheduled throughout the semester. Check email for Evites.
  • Use the Chair's Request Form to expedite contact and resolve: 

Past Africana Studies Chairs

  • Serie McDougal, Ph.D.
  • Dorothy Tsuruta, Ph.D.
  • Theophile Obenga, Ph.D.
  • Oba Tshaka, Ph.D.
  • Wade Nobles, Ph.D.
  • Raye Richardson, Ph.D.
  • Nathan Hare, Ph.D.

Your Degree Matters